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In a message dated 97-02-27 18:29:59 EST, ballense(--nospam--at)concentric.net wrote:

<< Most engineers don't ask (I do), but I believe it is difficult to get much
more than 20%-25% of the total. When comparing the time (both direct and
indirect-research, seminars, etc.) and liability, this fee is not in correct
proportion.>>

You are right to think this proportional split is unfair.  But an even more
egregious example can be cited:  the commissions made by commercial real
estate leasing agents.  On a spec building you engineered for perhaps 1.5% of
the construction costs, leasing agencies in tight markets like SF will get
better than 4% of rents on leases of  5 years or longer.  Because rents are
based on costs that include land, agency commissions are actually greater
than the total design fees paid to you and the rest of the design team.  The
best producing agents keep 80% of these commissions.  Relative to the hours
you had to put in to earn the fee, the amount of  knowledge, training and
judgment you brought to the work, and the continuing liability exposure you
face, do you think it outrageous that a salesperson should be compensated
three times as much for what he or she brought to the party?  And adding salt
to the wound, the agent can make repeat commissions as leases expire!

What can be done about such injustices?  Very little in a market economy
where intrinsic worth and contribution only occassionally correlate with
rewards.   A recent news article reported that hundreds of people in Silicon
Valley and Redmond became new millionaires last year.  Many were in their
early twenties, and the median age was below 30.  Do you think folks at these
tender ages have already made more lasting contributions to society than you
have in the decade or longer it has taken you to earn your first million?

Is there a moral in these musings?  Just this:  Jack Kennedy once observed,
"Life is unfair".  Indeed.  We should accept the cards we are dealt in life,
play them to the best of our abilities to get the best possible results, and
take satisfaction in those results whether or not we win the match.
 Lamenting bad luck at being dealt mediocre hands instead of royal flushes
won't change the cards, and may only distract us from playing them as well as
possible.  Few of us have the time, energy, patience and money needed to join
campaigns for change..

Franklin Lew, SE


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Date: Fri, 28 Feb 1997 02:55:24 -0500 (EST)
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Subject: Re: building code minimums for wood frame
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__________________________________________________

Richard Lewis, P.E.
Missionary TECH Team
rlewis(--nospam--at)techteam.org

The service mission like-minded Christian organizations
may turn to for technical assistance and know-how.